Opinicon Resort sold at auction to Ottawa family

The Opinicon Resort on the Rideau Canal, which was closed in 2012 and put up for auction earlier this month, has been sold to an Ottawa family.

The Opinicon Resort on the Rideau Canal, which closed in 2012 and was put up for auction earlier this month, has been sold to an Ottawa family.

The auction house behind the sale, Gordon's Estate Services, told CBC News the "prominent young" family who bought the property wishes to remain anonymous until the sale becomes official on Jan. 23.

The resort sale included 6.5 hectares of land, a hotel and 21 cabins, as well as everything on the property, from a slightly flat grand piano and antique signage, to a cast iron church bell that tolled across Lake Opinicon for decades, beckoning vacationing anglers back to the lodge for a hot lunch.

The sale price was not disclosed. Tenders started at $500,000 and the winners found out they were successful on Dec. 18.

Gordon's broker and partner Manson Slik said they received three bids: the winners from Ottawa, one from the Toronto area and one from out of the province.

All indications it will remain a resort

The property started out as the Chaffey family home in the early 1800s and became a resort under Cindy Spencer's great grandmother in 1921. After Spencer's mother died in 2012, Cindy and her sister closed the resort.

The buyers want to "improve and operate the resort in some fashion" that "maintains its original charm," said Gordon's spokesperson Nicky Breeze in an email on Tuesday.

"What will it ultimately look like when they get into it, who knows?" Slik said in an interview Tuesday. "I expect they'll be able to operate the property in the same fashion or some similar fashion as they folks that have run it since 1921."

Slik said bidders weren't required to share their plans for the property during the bidding process, as it was a strictly financial process.

However, he hasn't heard any indication they're thinking of demolishing existing buildings or building condominiums, for example.

"It sounded like they really appreciated what was there and wanted to build upon what was there," he said.

The sale is welcome news to area Coun. Claire Gunnewiek.

"I worked there briefly in high school; lots of other folks did too, either filleting fish for tourists or making lunches and waitressing. It will be nice for the high school kids if maybe there are similar summer jobs in the area," Gunnewiek said.

The resort is located about 125 kilometres southwest of Ottawa, south of Perth, Ont.


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